Fianna Fáil Press Office
08 February 2016
Fine Gael and Labour have punished rather than protected older people – Fitzpatrick
– Series of mean cuts have disproportionately impacted the elderly –
Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Dublin Central Mary Fitzpatrick says Fine Gael and Labour’s record on older people is reason enough for people not to return this Government for a second term in office. Far from upholding their promises to protect the vulnerable, this Government slashed a number of key supports for older people.
Speaking at a General Election hustings organised by Age Action in Dublin today, Ms Fitzpatrick explained, “Fine Gael and Labour claim they have protected older people but nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past five years they have abolished the telephone allowance, cut the Household Benefits Package and changed the eligibility criteria for medical cards. Before the last election James Reilly promised to scrap the then 50cent prescription charge; the reality is that it has increased five fold under this Government.
“Under Fine Gael and Labour, the deprivation rate for the over 65s has soared – from 9.5% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2014. So claims by either party that they have protected older people are simply untrue.
“Fianna Fáil wants a fairer society, where older people are given the supports they need. We have developed an ‘Independent Living Contract’ for older people. This will ensure improvements in living standards and services for older people”.
The Independent Living Contract involves a number of key measures, all of which are independently costed:
– Increase the State Pension by €30 to €263
– Increase in the Living Alone Allowance to €15
– Full restoration of Housing Adaptation Grants
– Phased abolition of Prescription Charges
– Specific Employment Supports for over 50s
– New national strategy for long term care.
“Older people play a valuable role in our society and we want to empower them to live full and independent lives through improved supports and services. We want to see fairness in society. We want an Ireland for all”, concluded Ms Fitzpatrick.